I recently bought tartar sauce instead of cream of tartar as my recipe said. The thing is I can't decide if tartar sauce is the same thing as cream of tartar.

Please advise whether I can use this as a substitute or if there are other substitutes or a recipe for cream of tartar.

  • 1
    Most excellent error! Tartar sauce belongs on fish sticks. Cream of tartar in egg whites you plan to whip. Jun 24, 2015 at 23:38
  • 3
    @WayfaringStranger Is meringue not supposed to have little green lumps in it, then? Jun 25, 2015 at 12:59

3 Answers 3


Cream of Tartar is potassium bitartrate in the form of powder. It is acidic, and is used in cooking mainly to stabilise meringue.

Tartare sauce is a mayonnaise-based sauce made using cornichons, capers, and tarragon or dill. It is usually served with seafood.

The two items are completely different and cannot be substituted one for the other.

  • 13
    Like JavaScript and Java. No wait, wrong stackexchange... Jun 24, 2015 at 17:18
  • 6
    @iamnotmaynard More like Javascript and a cat. Javascript and Java are at least both programming languages; Cream of Tartar and Tartar sauce aren't even in the same category of things. Jun 24, 2015 at 22:25
  • 2
    @DavidRicherby Sometimes, both cats and Javascript don't play nicely :(
    – Ming
    Jun 25, 2015 at 4:36

Substitutes for cream of tartar:

For stablizing egg whites - lemon juice or white vinegar use equal amount.

For leavening - replace cream of tartar and baking soda with baking powder. 1 tsp. baking powder = 1/3 tsp. baking soda + 2/3 tsp. cream of tartar.

  • it's also used to aid sugar inversion, when the lemon juice will work; and in sherbets, in which case citric or malic acid will work.
    – Dannie
    Jun 3, 2019 at 11:59

Another good substitute for cream of tartar is a little pinch of salt, especially for stabilizing egg whites. Enjoy!

  • 1
    Sorry, but it is not a substitute in any case, not even in egg whites. You can add salt to them, but it won't have the same effect chemically speaking, so it doesn't stabilize the foam. You can use acids or metal ions (beating in a pure copper bowl) but not salt.
    – rumtscho
    Jun 28, 2015 at 11:48

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